Hydrothermal Decarboxylation of Corn Distillers Oil for Fuel-Grade Hydrocarbons

Md. Zakir Hossain, Anil Kumar Jhawar, Muhammad B.I. Chowdhury, William Z. Xu, Paul A. Charpentier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Catalytic hydrothermal conversion of non-edible corn distillers oil (CDO), a low-value by-product of the ethanol industries, into high value fuel-grade hydrocarbons was investigated in near-supercritical water. The decarboxylation experiments were conducted using activated carbon in a 300 mL batch stirred tank reactor at reaction temperatures of 300–400 °C with pressure ranges from 2200–2500 psi (≈15–17 MPa), water/CDO (v/v) ratios of 2:1 to 5:1, and reaction times of 0.5 to 4 h at constant stirring speed (800 rpm). For the first time, complete removal of the −COO− group from CDO was achieved at 400 °C with 4 h of reaction time and a water/CDO (v/v) ratio of 4:1. The liquid products obtained were a mixture of saturated hydrocarbons, mainly C8–C16 (selectivity 49.7 %) and heptadecane (48.9 %) which have similar specific gravity, higher heating value (HHV), cloud points, and pour points to those of commercial fuels. 65 % liquid yield was obtained under optimal reaction conditions. The reaction mechanism was found to follow pseudo-first-order kinetics with an activation energy 66.1±3 kJ mol−1, which is much lower than similar reported literature values for the decarboxylation process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1261-1274
Number of pages14
JournalEnergy Technology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • biofuels
  • biomass
  • catalysis
  • fuels
  • supercritical water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy(all)


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